Justin Chang

Justin Chang
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
94% Tell Me Who I Am (2019) [I]n its most rewardingly complicated moments, this absorbing, incomplete documentary reminds us that there is nothing definitive about what we think we know. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
41% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) It's hard not to appreciate the sheer derangement of the plot that Ingrith has concocted, which is so cruel and so elaborate... as to make even the original Maleficent's machinations in "Sleeping Beauty" look tame by comparison. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2019
No Score Yet Doubting Thomas (2019) [A] mostly hackneyed lesson on racial biases desperately stumbling to appear provocative. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
25% Gemini Man (2019) No matter how many (presumably non-computer-generated) tears Smith sheds, he and Lee never transform this baby hit man into a plausible science-fiction conceit, let alone invest him with a soul. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
43% The Laundromat (2019) A really fascinating movie that is perplexing and sometimes irritating and uneven to watch, but I really like how it came together in the end. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
82% Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) "Memory: The Origins of 'Alien,'" a well-mounted peek behind the scenes of Ridley Scott's 1979 science-fiction masterpiece, is more interested in what you can see, as well as what you cannot unsee. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
22% Lucy in the Sky (2019) Unfortunately, it's an anticlimactic conclusion at best, full of tacked-on thriller shenanigans that, once they've petered out, make you wonder exactly why this story drew the filmmakers' attention to begin with. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
96% The Edge of Democracy (2019) This works very well as both a primer on the tumultuous last several years of Brazilian politics and also as a very passionate personal essay film. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
97% The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2019) A very tense, engrossing, and well-acted movie. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
92% Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese (2019) Scorsese and Dylan are being incredibly playful here... It feeds into the idea of how myths are made. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
32% Shaft (2019) This is a very strange movie... They've taken one of the coolest, suavest characters in movie history and cast him in this multigenerational "grumpy old dad" sitcom. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2019
100% Black Mother (2019) The effect of watching this movie is very emotional and sensual. It's overwhelming on both those levels. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) I found this weirdly diverting... It's a counterintuitive fit for this character, and I kind of liked that about it. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
81% Fast Color (2019) A terrific movie that juggles several different genres with enormous skill and economy. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
97% First Love (Hatsukoi) (2019) It's a joyous piece of filmmaking, a demented, multitasking little scherzo from a director who cranks out four new features a year on average and who never seems more relaxed than when he's in an absolute frenzy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
83% Judy (2019) Renée Zellweger may not be Judy Garland, but she reminds us that technical perfection is no match for emotional truth. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
75% Hotel Mumbai (2019) I think this is a very well-staged and often suspenseful movie that -- like a lot of dramatic reenactments of terrorist acts -- I don't think justifies its existence in the end. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
77% Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019) Like some of the feature-length spinoffs of old "Saturday Night Live" sketches that proliferated in the '90s, it feels like a padded version of a bit that was a lot sharper in five-minute increments. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
87% Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019) It offers a blunt, ruthless evisceration - which is to say, a clear-eyed assessment - of the brilliant legal mind who helped send the Rosenbergs to the electric chair and made his reputation as Joseph McCarthy's attack dog. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
94% Don't Come Back from the Moon (2019) There's a lot of poetry and soul to it. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
91% Fyre (2019) [The guests] don't come off really well... You couldn't help but laugh. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
99% Knives Out (2019) Johnson hasn't just churned out a wink-wink spoof of the classical drawing-room mystery... with its ingenious twists and turns, he has crafted an intricate puzzle-box narrative worthy of the genre's brainiest practitioners. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
77% Jojo Rabbit (2019) [I]f "Jojo Rabbit" has anything to teach us, it's that sniffles can be an even greater divider. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
88% Hustlers (2019) Lopez gives her most electrifying screen performance since "Out of Sight," slipping the movie into her nonexistent pocket from the moment she strides out onto a neon-lighted stage in a rhinestone bodysuit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
100% Collective (Colectiv) (2019) [A] gripping, despairing exposé of institutional injustice. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
82% Just Mercy (2019) "Just Mercy" is a handsome, impeccably mounted tribute to his activism and also his fellow advocates. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
86% Waves (2019) "Waves" is an even deeper plunge into the same pool, but for all its darkness, it's also a work of great tenderness, with a bracing openness to complex new frontiers of human experience. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
14% American Skin (2019) "American Skin" is a jagged symphony of false notes, each one struck with a sledgehammer. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
59% An Officer and a Spy (J'accuse) (2019) Effortlessly absorbing procedural cinema: With its proliferation of intercepted documents and carefully scrutinized handwriting samples, it opens an engrossing window on the top-secret workings of 19th century French intelligence. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
68% Joker (2019) "Joker" is a dark, brooding and psychologically plausible origin story, a vision of cartoon sociopathy made flesh. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2019
84% Ad Astra (2019) Somber, stirring, ridiculous and just shy of sublime. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
90% Give Me Liberty (2019) "Give Me Liberty" is a full-blown farce on wheels, a master class in controlled, escalating chaos. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
81% This is not Berlin (2019) "This Is Not Berlin" is both a sensitive coming-of-age story and a vibrant, affectionate ode to Mexico City's burgeoning counterculture. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
75% Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) [A] peculiarly potent story about life's unexpected little ruptures - those odd coincidences, repetitions and shifts in perspective that can set off aftershocks in the human heart. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
97% Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven) (2019) [A] nervy and imaginative piece of filmmaking that, on a scene-by-scene basis, has trouble living up to its obvious ambition. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
88% Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) The title more or less gives away the entire plot, which just goes to show that unpredictability can be overrated. Even a formulaic crowd-pleaser can be hard to resist if the formula is this well executed. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
96% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) What I like about it especially is that it captures this fleeting moment of almost innocence near the time of the dawn of cinema when directing was not automatically assumed to be a man's job and where women directing a film was no big deal. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
47% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Notably, this is the first Linklater movie to feature a solo female lead, and Bernadette instantly emerges as one of the most vibrant and complex characters in the director's filmography. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
81% Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019) You may not leave this movie satisfied, but you will be appalled - and chilled to the bone. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
73% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) The complications are ludicrous, but the movie navigates them with cheek and verve, and the jokes land with surprising consistency. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2019
99% One Child Nation (2019) The individual stories that make up "One Child Nation," illuminate an entire history of institutional corruption, medical brutality and pervasive misogyny. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
22% The Kitchen (2019) The plot of "The Kitchen" twists and buckles but it never fully breathes. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) For better or worse, these are digitally souped-up blockbusters that haven't entirely lost touch with their humanity, even if "Hobbs & Shaw," diverting as much of it is, could have used less snark and more soul. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
92% Luce (2019) "Luce" is a neatly constructed puzzle, an engrossing weave of suburban drama and sociopolitical whodunit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
99% Honeyland (2019) This lovely, heartrending movie leaves you marveling at her history and thinking anxiously for her future - and wondering, perhaps, why her example of basic decency has become so endangered. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
96% I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (Îmi este indiferent daca în istorie vom intra ca barbari) (2019) The movie's refusal to dumb down its ideas, truncate its arguments or skimp on the power of its own verbiage is precisely what makes it so mesmerizing. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
95% Ray & Liz (2019) What distinguishes "Ray & Liz" is its ability to find strange tonal nuances within that terrible sadness; bleak as it is, it's remarkably devoid of bitterness or rancor, and even its most despairing passages are flecked with humor and hope. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2019
93% Sword of Trust (2019) A smart, politically barbed comedy about truthiness and consequences. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
53% The Lion King (2019) Some of these remakes have been more inspired than others, but few have felt quite as futile as The Lion King. This isn't the circle of life; it's more like a creative dead end. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
83% The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Like any good martial artist, [Eisenberg] knows just how to keep you off-balance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019